Martha E. Rogers
Martha E. Rogers, Founder
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In Visions Of Rogers’ Science-Based Nursing (Barrett, 1990a) there are explorations of Rogerian based topics as diverse as the experience of time (Rapacz, 1990), the experience of dying (Winstead-Fry, 1990), of dying and the experience of paranormal events (McEvoy, 1990), the development of unitary nursing practice (Cowling, 1990), education and nursing in space (Malinski, 1990), however not all of these topics are empirically based.

The more recent text Rogers’ Scientific Art of Nursing Practice (Madrid and Barrett, 1994) covers a wide variety of topics in a similar fashion, being a mix of position or discussion papers and research projects. Some of the subjects covered include storytelling (Griffin, 1994), Rogerian counseling (Tuyn, 1994) and the development of Rogerian research methods (Fawcett, 1994; Rawnsley, 1994a; Butcher, 1994a).

PhD dissertations and other journal articles.
In the same way that the Science of Unitary Human Beings has been developing over the past twenty five years or so, so has the research that has been based on either the Science of Unitary Human Beings or Rogers’ early ideas.

The history of the development of Rogerian research has been carefully recorded by Ference (1986). She stated that early dissertations submitted to New York University during the 1960’s showed the clear influence of the thinking of Martha Rogers and could be grouped into studies that explored holism, human development and early studies of man-environment interaction carried out by Mathwig (1967) and Felton (1968). A critical examination of these studies was not possible as they were not available for inspection.

Further studies of the impact of variations in the environment field on the human field were carried out in the early 1970’s (Ference, 1986). At this time several studies of body image were carried out that contributed to the development and understanding of four-dimensionality. This was followed by studies of the variable of time, locus of control and field independence. However, it was identified that these studies often had little direct relevance to the Science of Unitary Human Beings with only infrequent "reference to the framework, aside from a quote of an assumption or guiding principle" (Ference, 1986).

The first doctoral dissertation to be framed solely within the Science of Unitary Human Beings was by Rawnsley (1977) who studied the perception of the speed of time in those who were dying. Hypotheses were framed within the Science of Unitary Human Beings and findings related appropriately (Ference, 1986). One hundred and eight subjects were recruited into one of four categories; young, not dying; young dying; old, not dying; or old, dying. Responses to a time metaphor test, a time-opinion questionnaire and estimations of clock time revealed that the field boundaries of younger dying adults were similar to older non-dying adults, that is, they perceived time as passing faster than the other groups. Rawnsley (1986) considered that this had implications for the definition of a dying human field, being more differentiated than one of somebody not dying, and that a more "therapeutic milieu be fostered for persons moving toward the end of the life process". However, Rawnsley’s (1986) study has received criticism (Fitzpatrick, 1986; Ference, 1986), it being stated that the arguments were supported by general opinion rather than strong empirical data, that there was a lack of precision in the use of terms, that a refinement of the methodology was needed and that the categories of dying and non-dying could not be regarded as mutually exclusive.

Many studies followed this. Ference designed and tested the Human Field Motion Test (Ference, 1979), and many further dissertations, mostly doctoral, studied subjects such as sensation seeking (Lindley, 1981), imposed motion in the elderly (Gueldner, 1983), meditation (McCrae, 1982) and power (Barrett, 1983), all within the framework of the Science of Unitary Human Beings.

Dykeman and Loukissa (1993) performed a detailed analysis of explicitly Rogerian research that had been carried out between 1983 and 1991. Following the application of a strict inclusion criteria, which included that the study must be based on the analysis of data, that the results must have been published, exclusively use the Science of Unitary Human Beings as a framework and must have been written after Rogers had changed the number of principles of homeodynamics from four to three, 20 studies were found. These studies were then divided into two groups, those that studied one or more of the three principles of homeodynamics or that studied one of the theories (of accelerating change, rhythm or power) that have been generated by the Science of Unitary Human Beings.

Two studies were found that were based on the study of two principles and of the remaining studies, three were based on integrality, four on helicy and five on resonance (Dykeman and Loukissa, 1993). The six remaining studies examined the derived theories. In all of the studies it was found that 40 instruments had been used, but that only three had been specifically developed for use with the Science of Unitary Human Beings. These tools were the Human Field Motion Tool that has previously been mentioned (Ference, 1979), the Power as Knowing Participation in Change Test (Barrett, 1990d) and the Temporal Experience Scale (Paletta, 1990). Overall, the results "of the 20 studies indicate that the majority of the studies provide at least partial support for hypotheses derived from Rogers’ conceptual framework" but that "it would appear that more research is needed before any strong statements can be made as to the use of the framework or its affiliated theories in practice" and that "there is much work left to be done before the outcomes of Rogerian research will be relevant for nursing practice" (Dykeman and Loukissa, 1993). This is often simply because the authors of the individual research studies failed to identify the relevance of their work for the improvement or change in nursing practice. In addition, Dykeman and Loukissa (1993) state that there is a need to address the reliability and validity of new instruments that need to be developed in order to measure Rogerian constructs and that new methodologies might need to be developed. They conclude that rather than quantitative methods alone (which appear to have been more frequently used in these studies), a move towards qualitative methods or a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods might be more appropriate for the measurement and exploration of Science of Unitary Human Beings ideas and that the research that is exploring the framework must continue. But the literature review by Dykeman and Loukissa (1993) is incomplete. This is because of the insistence on only reviewing published papers rather than also including doctoral and other dissertations. A wealth of material is therefore missed. Also it should not be regarded as a contemporary view. Because of the very dynamic nature of the development of the Science of Unitary Human Beings, many studies have been completed since the publication, or at least submission in January 1992, of the paper.




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